Thursday, April 2, 2009

A Mexican Fairy Tale

Once upon a time, I lived in Mexico. I was a terrible cook. I loved going to restaurants so that I could eat something other than tortillas filled with mashed potatoes and a gourmet mixture of fried onions and mushrooms. My roommates and I went to Applebee's one night for a real splurge (we were all pretty much broke) and I ordered the Tequila Lime Chicken (aka Fiesta Chicken). It was probably the most delicious thing I'd eaten in months. I enjoyed every mouthful, and eventually I reached that point in the meal where you'd love to eat a few more bites, but if you did, you wouldn't have enough for a leftover meal the next day. So I decided to get this delicious meal boxed up, and I made my wishes very clear to the waiter. I told him in English. I told him in Spanish. He confirmed in English. He confirmed in Spanish. Then I waited, and waited, and waited for my little styrofoam box of scrumptious leftovers.

Can you guess what happened?

The waiter appeared shocked when I asked for my leftovers again.... he had thrown them in the garbage! This was muy mal. Muy muy mal.

Now it shouldn't have taken a genius to realize that I was in Mexico, where tequila and limes were cheap and plentiful, and it couldn't be that hard to toss it all together with some chicken, smother it in cheese, and top it with tortilla chips. But like I told you, I was a terrible cook. The thought never even crossed my mind, or if it did, I was quickly reminded of that time I tried to poach a chicken breast and filled Casa B with smoke.

And so, it's been almost a decade since I last had Tequila Lime Chicken... until this weeekend. We went to the new Applebee's in town, and my husband ordered it. When I took a little bite off his plate, I remembered how good it tasted. But instead of feeling sad as he polished off his meal, I thought, "I can totally make that.... and I won't even smoke up the casa!"

If you google "Applebee's Tequila Lime Chicken" you will find lots of websites with this recipe. I'm sure it's fabulous, but I didn't google, I just went with my gut and came up with this:

KATHY'S POLLO LOCO
Chicken/Marinade:
4 chicken breasts
1/3 c. freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 c. gold tequila
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. Fajita Seasoning
grated cheese

Fried Tortillas:
1 large tortilla, cut into thin strips (I'm using 2 so I can get multicolours - 1 is spinach and 1 is tomato)
olive oil
Epicure's Chili Lime Sansel

Sauce:
1 tbsp. Cheese & Jalapeno Dip Mix
1 tbsp. mayonnaise
1 1/2 tsp. lime juice
2 tbsp. milk
1 tbsp. olive oil

Pico de Gallo:
1/2 c. tomato, diced
1 green onion, diced
1/2 c. cucumber, diced
1 tsp. lime juice (optional)
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced (optional)

Combine lime juice, tequila, oil, garlic, and fajita seasoning and pour over chicken breasts. Marinate overnight. Brush tortilla strips with oil and sprinkle with Chile Lime Sansel. Bake at 425 F for 10 minutes. Whisk together sauce ingredients. Grill chicken on the barbeque for 3-5 minutes per side (or bake in the oven.) Turn oven to broil and lay cooked chicken breasts in a baking dish. Pour sauce over top. (I didn't put any sauce on the kids' chicken.)
Cover with grated cheese. (I used cheddar on the kids' chicken, and a mixture of cheddar and jalapeno havarti on our chicken.)
Broil until cheese melts.
Serve on a bed of fried tortilla strips (or use tortilla chips) and top with some pico de gallo.

So that's my tale of Tequila Lime Chicken. And they all lived happily ever after!

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5 comments:

Tenille said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Meal Planner said...

Great story! I would have been so heartbroken, since I am all about the leftovers :) This looks incredibly delicious and I NEED to try it.

k-e-household said...

You are a great narrator! I loved the story.
I want some of that chili line sansel! But I would needs recipes with it...I am sure there is a message board of something with Epicure die hards and how they used the spices?

Kathy said...

To be honest, the Chili Lime really doesn't make much of an impact in this recipe. But it is one of my favourite Epicure products. You use it as a salt substitute. I like it on cucumbers, watermelon, jicama, avocado, salads, fish, etc. I use it to make guacamole... just mix it into some mashed avocados. Mmmm! It's awesome on corn on the cob too. If you want, I can order one for you next time I do an order. (It's $7.50 plus shipping)

Kathy said...

I just checked out the Epicure website, and their recipe database is finally working! It doesn't have much for Chili Lime, but here's what popped up:
http://www.epicureselections.com/Recipes/Search-Recipes/Default.aspx?search=chili%20lime%20sansel&cat=1,2,3,4,5,6,7
(If that doesn't work, go to www.epicureselections.com and click on Recipes and then Search Recipes)